As long as the pieces were large enough and the number of pieces was somewhere between 25 and 60—John enjoyed the repetition and the activity of puzzles. It was a new hobby, but the repetitiveness and that half of the dining room table that was his devoted puzzle area kept his mind somewhat active.
When we traveled I would pick a few of his favorite puzzles so that if he became bored or needed a task to ground him, a task to remind him of home and calm his nerves, he would have his familiar puzzles.
He would often come along with me to meetings. We would arrive early so he could set up a puzzle table to have all to himself. He would assemble the puzzles once or twice. People would walk by and give him “advice” on how he should assemble the puzzles…and he usually wouldn’t even acknowledge their one-sided and not welcome conversation. When he’d had enough he would pack them away and listen to the remainder of the meeting—or put his head down on the table to rest—a signal to me that he was ready to go home.
Over time, Ray along with some friends and I have gifted him some fun and unique puzzles. Custom made puzzles with him riding a Soap Box Derby car at Derby Downs. Or a collage of the two of us “having fun”.
The colorful bird puzzles have pieces lovingly worn by repeated use. There’s the USA puzzle, more birds and the adorable puppies and kitten puzzles.
I watched with more heartbreak that ability and interest fade as he would sit, confused, trying desperately to put together a puzzle he had worked on so, so many times. It would be left, untouched and unfinished, until I boxed it up hoping (in my “angry at the world that Alzheimer’s has robbed this man of another pleasure”) that the interest would return.
And then…like so many of life’s seemingly simple things…that interest, that ability was gone. No matter how hard we try. No matter how much we care. Life’s memories become a puzzle of “John and Bev Having Fun” I refuse to box away.
So well said, Bev. Thank you.?
Both you and John are lucky to have each other.
SO TRUE Sharon.
Betty Ann Litvak
So sad to hear this! John was a very special person with a unique sense of humor and wonderful skills. Our thoughts are with tou! Betty Ann and Ron
You’ll be happy to know that unique sense of humor still comes out often!! Thankful for the little things, which are the big things.
Beautiful and heart wrenching. Love you and John, Bev.
Thank you Marcia. We love you too! [Be sure to read One Leftover Baguette.]
I’m so sorry to hear about Johns illness. I recall meeting him at a book signing and learning that he photographed the beautiful pictures for your book. I will enjoy trying your new recipes?
Thank you Jane. He was so proud of those photographs in all our cookbooks. Have fun cooking and enjoying the recipes.
Bless your Hearts!
This is a tough one alright.
Thinking about you both, and sending prayers and good vibes always.
Thank you Elle. We need all the prayers and good vibes we can get!
I was so delighted when I opened this email and read your blog. I have been thinking of both of you recently. I can’t even begin to tell you how I missed John’s patience and wisdom during the construction of the House. Your words of wisdom are so true, we never know what is around the corner and work to take each turn in stride. My very best to both of you!
Thank you Mary. I’m sure he missed working with you too!
Your post brought back so many memories of laughter and hijinx. Thank you both for the great times and the joy. When I think of John and baking, angel food cake is the first thing that comes to mind. I had some the other day and thought, “John’s is way better than this!”. Of course I ate it anyway, but you were both with me bringing a smile to my heart.
Barbara, John DID make THE BEST angel food cake. No one even comes close. One of the things I miss…
My heart breaks for you and John. Courage, my friend.
Thank you, Jane!
Fred and Holly Glock
I’m so sad that John has been taken away a bit at a time like this. I remember fondly the two of you teaching us all manner of cooking techniques and recipes at your shop and Mustard Seed. Our hearts are with you both.
Thanks so much, Fred and Holly!
Bev so sorry that this joy was stripped away. Hoping there will be something new he will enjoy. Love and strength to you both.
I’m hoping for a replacement as well.